Last night I had the privilege of going to see Cirque du Soleil’s brand new show in the company’s hometown of Montreal.
I’ve seen a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows before as they’ve toured their way through the UK, so I knew to expect a surreal and mesmerising spectacle. This new show is called Kurios, Cabinet des Curiosites and it was a gorgeous steampunk saga with a cast of oddball characters that could have come straight out of a Victorian fairground. I am a huge fan of the steampunk aesthetic in general, so I was predisposed to enjoy the theme and design of this particular show, but what made my jaw drop to the ground were the performances themselves.
A few of the highlights for me were as follows:
The contortionists, who performed a beautiful piece in which they waved and bent their bodies in remarkable ways to make them look like some kind of octopus/sea coral.
(All performance photos are the official press photos by Cirque du Soleil, as we weren’t allowed to take pictures).
The two hench-looking guys who performed on the aerial straps spent the first half of the show disguised as Siamese twins, but then peeled away from one another in a breathtaking show of strength and grace.
There was a giddily playful trampoline routine on a giant net the full size of the stage that looked so much fun I just wanted to get up and join in.
I usually get really freaked out during balancing acts, but one, involving a man rescuing a flyaway chandelier from an upside down mirror world on the roof of the big top, just blew my mind to the point that I stopped thinking about him falling. There were plenty of can’t-look-must-look moments through the show, but this was just like something straight out of the brain of Lewis Carroll.
It wasn’t all jaw-dropping set pieces though — there was plenty of wonder to be found in the details too. One particular act involved the live streaming of a hilarious hand puppet performance being enacted onto the stage, which was projected onto a giant balloon above it. It was clever and intricate and every bit as impressive as the aerial acts.
Kurios managed to seamlessly move the audience through whole spectrum of emotion, from quiet enrapturement to hysterical laughter, without them even noticing the speed of the transitions. I defy even the world’s most cynical human not to be won over by its profound warmth and sheer gravity-defying brilliance.
Montrealers don’t settle for less when it comes to entertainment, so it’s not surprising world-famous Cirque is a product of the vibrant cultural scene. Hundreds of festivals happen every year in the city, and there are even several on right now, including Francofolies — the world’s largest French-language music festival.
Kurios will stay in Montreal for a while longer and then head to Quebec City before travelling around the world, so keep an eye out for it heading to your town. I personally am planning to see it again when it arrives in the UK — that’s how much I loved it.
Thanks so much to KLM/Air France for flying me out to Montreal, and to Tourisme Quebec for organising the tickets (which were free). More to come on Montreal and Quebec soon!